“After being a judge, it’s the least popular job in surfing.” Sean Doherty on commentating.
Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.
With the new ASP announcing their commentary dream team ahead of the WCT opener at Snapper in less than a fortnight, we all have an opinion on surfing’s webcast commentators. Some are loathed, very few are loved, and there’s a hell of a lot of cyber emotion in between.
Here’s SE’s guide to surfing’s mic’d up wordsmiths, past, present (and maybe back in not distant future when Zosea goes tits up)…
Nicknamed ‘The Chocolate Jesus’ (by Sean Doherty), Joe tends to divide the masses, the Aussies can’t stand the honeyed Seppo twang, the Americans love his ability to talk for 23 hours straight on anything remotely to do with surfing. Either way it seems the professional straight guy role seems to be his for the taking. If you ever have the misfortune to be staying at the same hotel during an event, watch out for his shameless acoustic guitar lobby renditions of ‘Cum By Ar, my Lord’, the complete Jack Johnson back catalogue, etc.
e.g. “Rrrrrreaaaally nice wrraaaaaap arroooouuuund thru to the inside section, how’d you like that second turrrrrn Raaaarrrrrrnie?”
The acceptable face of Australian commentary, moderately handsome, unbiased and plays the anchor role to the assembled rabble of pro surfers and others. Maybe needs more of the Ron Burgundy about him, but surely a safe pair of hands, for an Australian. Did you know he was Mick Fanning’s media manager? You do now.
Hard to argue with a man who has been at the cutting edge of big-wave surfing for more than two decades. Articulate, large and likeable. Also looks a bit like real life Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrel… no? Does anyone out there disagree?
Has a world title and legendary innovative status behind him, plus about a decade of box experience. This is up against a clipped South African accent and slightly jaded edge. A mainstay of pro surfing, knows the venues, surfers and game inside out.
e.g. (slightly camp Saffa/Oz loud whisper) “Jo-ell Park-o, comes aht the doggeeee dooooorrrrr…”
Former (middling to very very average) pro and American motormouth with a super quick turn of phrase and incredible knowledge of surfing. Firmly in the Quiksilver camp, so not sure if this will help or hinder. One fellow commentator once said, “Talk to him off camera and Kliney is one of the funniest cunts in the world, but put a mic in his hand and he’s about as funny as cancer.”